Kara Kay, Alec Merlino, Survivor


When Kara Kay and Alec Merlino found out they were appearing on Survivor, finding love certainly wasn't on their to-do list.

Instead, the $1 million prize was one of their main motivations to leave sunny California and try to outwit, outlast and outplay their competition.

While they may not have made the finals on season 37 of Survivor: David vs. Goliath, the two castaways found a prize each of them never expected. Oh yes, these two found love.

"I think we both started liking each other, but we just didn't know it," Alec shared with E! News exclusively ahead of tonight's season premiere. "Toward the end of the show, when I would walk back into Tribal when I got voted out, I was like, 'She's kinda cute.' And it wasn't until the very last night when the thing kinda happened."

That thing is deciding to turn their friendship into something more. The pair says they started dating May 7, which was the last day they were both in Fiji.

Since then, Alec has moved to San Diego, Calif., to work on his Head & Hart small business. And yes, it helps that Kara calls it home too.

While both parties aren't ones to post couples shots on Instagram each and every day, they assure fans that things are going great.

"Usually our days consist of waking up and we'll bike ride, walk by the bay, run. We just like to get caught up in the moment and we don't like to pull our thumbs out," Alec explained. "I just don't feel the need to post every second of what I'm doing. We're both really good about not having our phones and that's just a testament to our relationship."

Kara Kay, Alec Merlino, Survivor


Kara added, "And it's a testament to how we started too. We started with absolutely nothing. It's like the reverse Bachelor. You start at your absolute worst with no technology, stripped of everything that is normal in everyday life…We're like way closer than a lot of people ever will get to be."

While the pair agrees that you shouldn't join Survivor to find romance, they are grateful that cupid struck at an unlikely destination.

In fact, they aren't the only contestants to find love on the show. Take a look at some of the other couples formed because of Survivor in our gallery below.

Jenna Bowman, Sebastian Noel, Survivor Couples


These Survivor: Ghost Island contestants are so intertwined they started a vlog and a couples Instagram account: Tarzan and Jen.

Parvati Shallow, John Fincher, Survivor Couples


Parvati Shallow, a participant on multiple iterations of Survivor, started dating John Fincher of Survivor: Samoa in 2014. They married in 2017 and welcomed a daughter in 2018.

Whitney Duncan, Keith Tollefson, Survivor Couples


This pair from 2011's Survivor: South Pacific had almost instant sparks. Their relationship took them on The Amazing Race together, and they wed in 2014.

Jeff Probst, Julie Berry, Survivor Couples

Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images

After production on Survivor: Vanuatu wrapped, Probst, the longtime host of the CBS series, reached out to Berry. The two started dating, but kept the relationship a secret until after Berry's season aired. They were together for a few years, but eventually split.

Rob Mariano, Amber Brkich, Survivor Couples

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Oh, Boston Rob and Amber. These two took showmance to the next level. They met in 2003 while on Survivor: All-Stars, got engaged in 2004, and had a TV wedding in 2005. They competed on The Amazing Race in season seven and returned for The Amazing Race: All-Stars in 2007. They have three kids.

Survivor Couples, Mary Sartain, Ryan Opray


The couple were introduced by Johnny Fairplay and were engaged, but the relationship didn't last.

Survivor Couples, Spencer Duhm, Todd Herzog

Steve Mack/Getty Images

Todd Herzog, the winner of Survivor: China, met Survivor: Tocantins contestant Spencer Duhm in 2009. The couple eventually split, and Herzog later appeared on Dr. Phil for an intervention with his alcohol addiction.

Survivor Couples, Stephen Fishbach, Courtney Yates

Amy Sussman/Getty Images

Courtney Yates of Survivor: China and Stephen Fishbach of Survivor: Tocantins never competed on the series together, but met in 2009 and struck up a romantic relationship, but it didn't last. Fishbach got married in 2018.

Survivor Couples, The Amazing Race, Ethan Zohn, Jenna Morasca

Sonja Flemming/CBS via Getty Images

These two Survivor winners met during the finale of Survivor: The Amazon. They started dating in 2003 and were together for 10 years, even appearing on The Amazing Race.

"It is with much consideration and a heavy heart that we are announcing that after 10 years of a loving relationship, the decision was made to move on without each other," a rep for the couple told E! News in 2013. "We will carry with us the memories of a relationship grounded in love, laughter, support and friendship."

"We have experienced some of life's greatest joys and toughest challenges together, and our decision to be apart can never diminish that. We want to thank everyone for their support and we ask that our privacy be respected as we move forward." Ethan Zohn is now married.

Survivor Couples, Erik Huffman, Jaime Dugan-Huffman


The Survivor: China contestants met on the show in 2007 during the competition. They married two years later.

Survivor Couples, Alex Bell, Kim Powers


Alex Bell, from Survivor: The Amazon, and Kim Powers, from Survivor: Africa, met through the show and got married in 2006.

Survivor Couples, David Murphey, Carolina Eastwood


Carolina Eastwood, a Survivor: Tocantins contestant, and David Murphy, a Survivor: Redemption Island contestant, got engaged on TV during the Redemption Island reunion. However, the marriage didn't happen and the split.

Survivor Couples, Ozzy Lusth, Amanda Kimmel


Lusth and Kimmel met on Survivor season 16, Survivor: Micronesia, where a showmance quickly developed. They continued dating after cameras stopped rolling, but eventually split.

Alec Merlino, Kara Kay, Survivor Couples


After competing on Season 37 or Survivor: David vs. Goliah, the two contestants formed a romantic relationship that continues today in San Diego, Calif. "We shared so much chemistry and friendship on the island," Kara explained to E! News. "And then we got home and we both knew." 

As for the possibility of seeing Alec and Kara on another CBS reality show down the road? Never say never.

"The Amazing Race sounds right up our ally. We both love to travel. We love being competitive and we make a really good team so I think that's something we would entertain," Kara shared. "I don't know about Big Brother."

Alec added, "I would do Amazing Race in a heartbeat…I couldn't do 100 days [on Big Brother]. I couldn't do it."'

A brand-new season of Survivor kicks off tonight with new episodes airing Wednesday nights at 8 p.m. only on CBS and CBS All Access.

Don't miss E! News every weeknight at 7, only on E!

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